Flight Safety Information [November 30, 2018] [No. 243]

 Flight Safety Information
Top Flight Safety Information November 30, 2018  –  No. 243
In This Issue
Incident: Delta A319 at Mexico City on Nov 26th 2018, engine problem
Incident: UPS A306 at Chicago on Nov 27th 2018, could not retract landing gear
Incident: British Airways B744 at London on Nov 29th 2018, could not retract landing gear
Incident: Southwest B737 near Kansas City on Nov 28th 2018, cracked windshield
Incident: Westjet B736 near Vancouver on Nov 16th 2018, sulphur like smell in cabin
EVAS – Cockpit Smoke Protection
Incident: American B772 over Atlantic on Nov 29th 2018, engine shut down in flight
Incident: Canada A333 at Zurich on Nov 25th 2018, nose wheel steering fault
Incident: UIA B738 at Paris on Nov 11th 2018, navigation error
ATSB Attributes Inflight Shutdown to Chemical Residue
LIBIK Fire Suppression Kits for the Cabin and Flight Deck
EXCLUSIVE-Boeing eyes Lion Air crash software upgrade in 6-8 weeks
US Pilots Want More Training on New Boeing Jet After Crash
Boeing CEO addresses flight system update after criticism from pilots
Drunk Japanese pilot nine times over the limit gets 10 months in prison
‘The bar has been raised’: NWT air ambulances get international safety accreditation (Canada)
Nepal flag carrier safety audit by South Korea ‘uncertain’
Allegiant Air retires last of its aging fleet months after “60 Minutes” investigation
Small Planet Airlines grounded by authorities
British Airways Enhances Cabin Crew Training with New Apprenticeship Program
ATR Delivers 1,500th Aircraft
Alaska to decide in 2019 whether to retain two aircraft type
US budget airline veteran to buy stake in struggling WOW Air after Icelandair abandons deal
National Aviation Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2019
Russians Are Struggling to Keep Soyuz Reliable, Space Expert Warns Ahead of Crew Launch
Today’s Photo

Incident: Delta A319 at Mexico City on Nov 26th 2018, engine problem

A Delta Airlines Airbus A319-100, registration N301NB performing flight DL-603 from Mexico City (Mexico) to Salt Lake City,UT (USA), was climbing out of Mexico City’s runway 23R when the crew reported a problem with one of the engines (CFM56) and requested to enter a hold to work the checklists. The aircraft levelled off at 12,000 feet and entered a hold. The crew subsequently decided to return to Mexico City for a safe landing on runway 23L about 30 minutes after departure.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Mexico City about 72 hours after landing back, the engine is being replaced.


Incident: UPS A306 at Chicago on Nov 27th 2018, could not retract landing gear
A UPS United Parcel Service Airbus A300-600 freighter, registration N130UP performing flight 5X-605 from Chicago O’Hare,IL to Louisville,KY (USA), was climbing out of Chicago’s runway 28R when the crew reported they could not retract the landing gear. The crew decided to continue to Louisville nonetheless although at a lower cruise level and a lower speed. The aircraft climbed to FL200 enroute and requested Louisville’s longest runway 35L available explaining they were carrying extra fuel. The aircraft landed safely on Louisville’s runway 35L about one hour after departure.

The aircraft remained on the ground in Louisville for about 15.5 hours, then returned to service.



Incident: British Airways B744 at London on Nov 29th 2018, could not retract landing gear

A British Airways Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVN performing flight BA-65 from London Heathrow,EN (UK) to Nairobi (Kenya), was climbing out of Heathrow’s runway 27L when the crew stopped the climb at 6500 feet due to being unable to retract the landing gear. After working the checklists the crew decided to return to Heathrow, climbed the aircraft to FL080 to dump fuel over the British Channel and returned to HEathrow for a safe landing on runway 27L about 100 minutes after departure. Emergency services reported a leak at the right body gear.

Several witnesses on the ground reported they observed the aircraft with all (nose, main, body) gear down while climbing out of Heathrow and entering a holding pattern.

The airline reported the aircraft returned to Heathrow for a normal landing.

A replacement Boeing 747-400 registration G-CIVL is estimated to reach Nairobi with a delay of 6:45 hours.


Incident: Southwest B737 near Kansas City on Nov 28th 2018, cracked windshield

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700, registration N457WN performing flight WN-718 from Washington Ronald Reagan,DC (USA) to Kansas City,MO (USA), was descending towards Kansas City when the captain’s windshield’s outer pane cracked. The aircraft continued for a safe landing in Kansas City.

A replacement Boeing 737-700 registration N757LV continued the next sector to Houston Hobby,TX (USA) with a delay of 20 minutes.

The airline reported the outer pane cracked, the windshield remained “completely intact”. The aircraft was removed from service to repair the windshield.

The occurrence aircraft returned to service after 20 hours on the ground.


Incident: Westjet B736 near Vancouver on Nov 16th 2018, sulphur like smell in cabin

A Westjet Boeing 737-600, registration C-GWCY performing flight WS-137 from Calgary,AB to Vancouver,BC (Canada) with 99 passengers and 5 crew, was enroute at FL380 about 5 minutes prior to top of descent when cabin crew informed the flight deck that a sulphur like smell was detected in the cabin in the vicinity of the overhead bins near seat row 2. The flight crew declared PAN PAN PAN, continued for a safe landing at Vancouver and taxied to the gate. Fire fighters boarded the aircraft at the gate and identified the odour came from a Westjet commissary cooler bag in the overhead bin above seat row 2.

The Canadian TSB reported the bag was removed, a further search did not find any source of heat or the odour.



Incident: American B772 over Atlantic on Nov 29th 2018, engine shut down in flight
An American Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration N751AN performing flight AA-63 from Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) to Miami,FL (USA) with 206 passengers and 13 crew, was enroute at FL350 over the Atlantic Ocean about 650nm westnorthwest of Shannon (Ireland) when the crew declared emergency reporting they had shut down the right hand engine (Trent 892). The aircraft drifted down to FL210, the crew decided to turn around and divert to Shannon, where the aircraft landed safely on runway 24 about 100 minutes later. The crew requested emergency services to inspect the right hand engine for any leaks, emergency crews reported seeing no leaks.

N751AN touching down in Shannon (Photo: AVH/PF):


Incident: Canada A333 at Zurich on Nov 25th 2018, nose wheel steering fault

An Air Canada Airbus A330-300, registration C-GFAH performing flight AC-878 (dep Nov 24th) from Toronto,ON (Canada) to Zurich (Switzerland) with 275 passengers and 11 crew, landed on Zurich’s runway 14 however suffered the loss of nose wheel steering during roll out. The crew was unable to steer the aircraft off the runway, the aircraft needed to be towed off the runway.

Canada’s TSB reported maintenance replaced the hydraulic block, functional and leak tests revealed no further fault.


Incident: UIA B738 at Paris on Nov 11th 2018, navigation error

A UIA Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration UR-PSB performing flight PS-128 from Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) to Kiev (Ukraine), departed Charles de Gaulle’s runway 27L (northern runway pair) and immediately after departure turned south without clearance into the departure path of the southern runways.

An Air France Airbus A320-200, registration F-HBNJ performing flight AF-7624 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Bordeaux (France), departed Charles de Gaulle’s runway 26R (southern runway pair) at the same time. Recognizing the unexpected turn by the UIA Boeing ATC instructed the A320 to stop climb at 2000 feet.

France’s BEA reported the UIA Boeing 737 turned south without clearance after departing the northern runway pair, while an Air France A320 was departing the southern runway pair. ATC kept the A320 down at 2000 feet, the separation between the two aircraft reduced to 300 feet vertical and 2.27nm horizontal. The BEA rated the occurrence an incident due to a navigation error and opened an investigation.

Both aircraft continued to their destinations without further incidents.


ATSB Attributes Inflight Shutdown to Chemical Residue

ATSB releases an investigative report about an engine occurrence involving a corrosion-inducing cleaning processes for Rolls blades.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently released an investigative report involving an engine occurrence that led to a European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness directive mandating the replacement of corrosion-inducing cleaning processes for Rolls-Royce blades.

In May 2017, an Airbus A380 operated by Qantas Airways departed Los Angeles destined for Melbourne. The crew turned back 2 hr. into the flight after hearing a loud bang followed by unusual vibration and what turned out to be a false fire warning.

After an uneventful landing, the initial inspection found no breach of the No. 4 engine casing and minor damage to the right flap due to exiting debris. A subsequent teardown found fatigue cracking due to internally corroded low-pressure turbine blades, which had resulted in blade debris and downstream damage through the engine. The corrosion was attributed to a chemical residue in the hollow blades left after a July 2015 cleaning operation.

In response to the occurrence, the manufacturer modified its blade-cleaning instructions to include best practices for the removal of process solutions and chemical residues. The revised procedures-which include flushing of aerofoil cavities and modifying the orientation and support of the blades while cleaning-were adopted at all applicable Trent 900 Stage 2 low-pressure turbine blade maintenance facilities. An internal manufacture safety alert also was distributed to raise awareness of the issue and its potential impact on other engine types.


EXCLUSIVE-Boeing eyes Lion Air crash software upgrade in 6-8 weeks

By Eric M. Johnson and Tim Hepher
SEATTLE/PARIS, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Boeing Co BA.N is weighing plans to launch a software upgrade for its 737 MAX in six to eight weeks that would help address a scenario faced by the Lion Air crew during last month’s deadly crash in Indonesia, two people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.
Crash investigators are focusing on the possibility that a new anti-stall system that repeatedly pushed the Lion Air jetliner’s nose down was being fed by erroneous data from a faulty sensor left in place after a previous hazardous flight.
Boeing has said cockpit procedures that were applied on the previous flight are already in place to tackle such a problem, and that its 737 series remains safe to fly.
But U.S. regulators have said Boeing is also examining a possible software fix, after coming under fire for not outlining recent changes to the automated system in the manual for the 737 MAX, the latest version of its best-selling passenger jet.
While plans for the possible fix are not final, Boeing’s software upgrade could block the recently modified anti-stall system, known as MCAS, from continuously running until the plane hits its nose-down limit, the sources said.
The MCAS function would be disabled if the crew counteracted it by trimming or adjusting settings in the opposite direction, according to two people briefed on Boeing’s proposals.
“When the crew makes the adjustment, that would essentially disengage MCAS unless it got new data,” one of the people said.
Data from the Lion Air flight recorder suggests the pilots sought to correct the system more than two dozen times before the jetliner plunged into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people onboard.
Attention has focused on the role of a suspect “angle of attack” sensor used to drive alerts on stall or loss of lift.
While each 737 has two of these blade-shaped vanes, the plane’s anti-stall system relies on data pulled from just a single vane during each flight, compared with a three-sensor “voting” system on rival Airbus AIR.PA jetliners.
Boeing’s software update would come as an emergency measure from Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration, the sources said.
The specific system for preventing stalls was not originally designed to monitor both probes because regulators assumed risks of a mishap were small and would be further reduced by the presence of a trained crew and power switches on errant systems.
Now, however, Boeing is examining whether the anti-stall system should also check data from the second probe before engaging, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Boeing declined comment on the proposed changes.
“As part of our standard practice following any accident or incident, we examine our aircraft design and operation, and when appropriate, issue bulletins and make recommendations to operators to further enhance safety,” a Boeing spokeswoman said.
“Boeing continues to evaluate the need for software or other changes as we learn more from the ongoing investigation.”
The FAA has repeatedly said it will “take further action if findings from the accident investigation warrant.”
A decision to update the software has not been finalised and Boeing could choose a different strategy, the people said.
The world’s largest planemaker has 4,542 of the upgraded 737 MAX on order from airlines, worth over half a trillion dollars at list prices, or about half that after typical discounts.
Boeing has delivered 241 of the jets to customers since it entered service last year, according to its website.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Tim Hepher in Paris; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, David Shepardson in Washington and Jamie Freed in Singapore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

US Pilots Want More Training on New Boeing Jet After Crash

  • US airline pilots are asking for more training around an automated system suspected of playing a role in a deadly crash in Indonesia.

FILE- In this Nov. 14, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737-MAX 8 is parked outside Boeing Co.’s 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash. Southwest Airlines says its pilots will get more instruction on an automated anti-stall system on certain new Boeing jets, and American Airlines pilots are also seeking more training. The system is under scrutiny after a deadly crash in Indonesia. The developments came Thursday, Nov. 29, after Boeing technical experts met separately with pilots from both airlines. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines says its pilots will get more instruction on an automated anti-stall system on certain new Boeing jets, and American Airlines pilots are also seeking more training. The system is under scrutiny after a deadly crash in Indonesia.

The developments came Thursday after Boeing technical experts met separately with pilots from both airlines.

Indonesian investigators are probing whether pilots on an Oct. 29 Lion Air flight were overwhelmed when incorrect sensor readings activated the anti-stall system and automatically pushed the nose of their plane down. The Boeing 737 MAX plunged into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.

The anti-stall system differs from those in previous Boeing 737 models. Pilots at American and Southwest say Boeing didn’t explain the changes in the new plane’s operating manual.

Boeing says the MAX is safe and that there is a procedure for stopping the nose-down command. The Chicago-based company, however, is considering whether software changes in the anti-stall system are needed.

Modern planes use sensors outside the fuselage to measure airspeed and the pitch of the plane’s nose. The sensors can malfunction, however, and safety experts have suggested that Boeing will have to change the automated anti-stall system of the 737 MAX – which entered service last year – to prevent it from responding to a single erroneous reading.

Southwest Airlines said all of its pilots will get additional classroom and simulator training by the end of the year. Airline spokeswoman Brandy King said the training will include recognizing and reacting to situations in which the nose might be pointed too high, and unreliable sensor readings.

Boeing representatives met Sunday with leaders of the pilots union at Southwest. The union declined to comment on the meeting.

Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, said several members of his union met with Boeing’s lead engineer and chief test pilot for the 737 MAX on Tuesday in Fort Worth, Texas. He said they quizzed the Boeing experts on how erroneous readings from a single sensor could trigger the nose-down command.

American Airlines pilots who were already familiar with the 737 got 56 minutes of training on a tablet computer when learning to fly the MAX, and “it seemed to suffice,” said Tajer, who is a pilot himself, “but clearly there is more to this aircraft.”

A Boeing spokesman said the company always examines aircraft design and operation after any accident or incident.

“Boeing continues to evaluate the need for software or other changes as we learn more from the ongoing investigation,” said the spokesman, Charles Bickers.

A spokesman for American declined to say whether the airline had agreed to the union’s request for more training, saying only that the airline was working with the union.

United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said, “We have the proper training in place for our pilots.”

At the end of October, Southwest had 26 Boeing 737 MAX jets, American had 16, and United Airlines had seven, according to Boeing figures.


Boeing CEO addresses flight system update after criticism from pilots

“Regardless of the outcome, we’re going to learn from this accident and continue to improve our safety record,” Muilenburg told employees in an internal memo.

In an internal memo sent to employees last week, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg reiterated the safety record of the company’s 737 commercial jetliner. (Richard Drew/AP)

Boeing executives have sought to assuage concerns of pilot groups and customers in the weeks since a new Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed off the coast of Indonesia, even as an investigation into the cause of the crash remains inconclusive.

In an internal memo sent to employees last week, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg reiterated the safety record of the company’s 737 commercial jetliner, which he described as “a safe airplane designed, built and supported by skilled men and women who approach their work with the utmost integrity.”

He pledged to continue to improve safety processes. “Regardless of the outcome, we’re going to learn from this accident and continue to improve our safety record,” Muilenburg wrote.

The company is grappling with the fallout of an Oct. 29 disaster in which a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Indonesian budget airline Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

Pilot groups have said they were “kept in the dark” about an update to the plane’s automated safety system. The Boeing 737 has gone through multiple iterations and upgrades since it first flew in 1967. Its newest model is the 737 Max.

When Boeing repositioned the engines on the Max and made them more powerful, it introduced a system called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) that was intended to make the airplane behave identical to its predecessor, the 737 Next Generation. Given that intention, Boeing told the airlines about MCAS, but pilots say it wasn’t included in their training.

It remains unclear whether Lion Air’s 737 operated as Boeing expected it would. Boeing notified pilots in a Nov. 6 advisory that a manual override feature of earlier 737 models would not work on the Max 8, but Boeing representatives have not answered questions about when the company first became aware of that change. It’s also unclear why it was not addressed in pilot training.

“Listening to pilots is a critical part of our work,” a Boeing spokeswoman said. “Their experienced input is front-and-center in our mind when we develop airplanes.”

The 737 in the Lion Air crash had experienced a problem on the flight into Jakarta in which the displays for the pilot and the co-pilot showed different information, according to a preliminary report released this week by Indonesian investigators. That problem on the day before the fatal flight was addressed by engineers overnight, but apparently wasn’t resolved.

After the Lion Air crash, Boeing issued a bulletin to airlines that said faulty airspeed indicators could “trim the stabilizer nose down in increments lasting up to 10 seconds.” Though the investigation is ongoing, it appears the pilots on the doomed flight were fighting the MCAS, which interpreted faulty input from an airspeed indicator to mean the plane was in a stall from which it might not recover unless immediate action was taken. The MCAS responded by directing the nose down.

“Does this mean the MCAS and other flight programs are unable to resolve discrepancies between the left and right seat flight displays, and isn’t that a terrible design flaw?” said Mary Schiavo, an aviation lawyer and former inspector general of the U.S. Transportation Department. “The computer can’t reconcile the difference, or permit the [co-pilot] to fly normally from the right seat when there is a problem” with the pilot’s control display.

A preliminary report released Wednesday by the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) detailed the chaotic final minutes of the flight. According to the report, pilots fought to keep the plane level as it repeatedly steered toward the sea.

It is not clear whether the pilots attempted a “runaway stabilizer” procedure that would have overridden the plane’s automated system. Black box data released by investigators showed pilots were pulling back on the control column in an attempt to raise the plane’s nose, applying almost 100 pounds of pressure to it.

The report stopped short of assigning blame for the crash. A summary presented to reporters Wednesday by the NTSC noted that the report had recommended Lion Air “improve the safety culture” while also “ensuring that all operation documents are properly filled and documented.”

Muilenburg referred to the crash as “a tragic accident.” He said Boeing’s employees have been “pouring significant energy into actively supporting the investigation and our MAX customers.”

A Boeing spokeswoman said Thursday that the company regularly communicates with airlines and pilots but has “stepped up that engagement” in recent weeks, including “reinforcement of appropriate existing procedures” relevant to the situation investigators have described in Lion Air Flight 610.

“Every day, millions of people rely on our commercial airplanes to crisscross the globe safely and reliably,” Muilenburg told employees. “When that doesn’t happen, for any reason, we take it seriously.”

Pilot union representatives say they have met with Boeing technical experts about the 737 safety features.

Allied Pilots Association communications committee chairman Dennis Tajer said a group of Boeing representatives, including a high-level engineer and a company test pilot, met with APA pilots at the association’s headquarters in Fort Worth on Tuesday. Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said the company held a similar meeting in Reno, Nev., on Sunday. A Boeing representative declined to comment on the meetings.

“As far as I know, it was the first time that a manufacturer had reached out to SWAPA directly,” Weaks said. “We appreciated it, and we were disappointed we didn’t know about MCAS before, but at a certain point you have to move forward.”

Also in the memo to employees, Muilenburg asserted that the company had not withheld information from customers.

“You may have seen media reports that we intentionally withheld information about airplane functionality from our customers. That’s simply untrue,” Muilenburg wrote. “The relevant function is described in the Flight Crew Operations Manual, and we routinely engage customers about how to operate our airplanes safely.”

Customers and their passengers, a Boeing spokeswoman said, “have our assurance that the 737 Max is as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies.”


Drunk Japanese pilot nine times over the limit gets 10 months in prison

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, a pilot for Japan Airlines, was found to be over nine times the legal alcohol limit shortly before a flight in October 2018.

London (CNN)A Japanese pilot found to be more than nine times over the legal alcohol limit before a scheduled flight from London Heathrow in October has been sentenced to 10 months in prison, police said Thursday.

Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, an employee of flag carrier Japan Airlines, was scheduled to fly from Heathrow to Tokyo on October 28 at 6:50 p.m. local time, but failed a breath test shortly before takeoff.

The test showed Jitsukawa had 189 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood in his body. The legal limit for pilots is 20 mg, while drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are allowed as much as 80 mg.
Alarm was raised after a driver of a crew bus smelled alcohol and called the police, who conducted the test, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Jitsukawa said he had drunk two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the night before the flight, NHK reported.

Japan Airlines has promised to implement new policies to prevent future alcohol related incidents.

He was remanded in custody and later pleaded guilty to the charge of performing an aviation function when his ability was impaired through alcohol. Jitsukawa had been scheduled to fly a 244-seater Boeing 777 aircraft.

Reacting to the sentencing, Inspector of Aviation Policing Iain Goble, condemned the “serious” offense that could have had “catastrophic” consequences.

“This conviction reflects he displayed not only total disregard for the safety of all the passengers and staff on his flight, but also the wider public,” Goble said.

Following Jitsukawa’s arrest, Japan Airlines apologized for the incident and said “safety remains our utmost priority,” adding it will “implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence.”


‘The bar has been raised’: NWT air ambulances get international safety accreditation (Canada)

‘What you’re going to see is friendly, knowledgeable staff that have more tools,’ says flight paramedic

One of Air Tindi’s medevacs planes is shown in Yellowknife. The territory’s medevacs are now accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transportation Systems. (Jamie Malbeuf.CBC)

The Northwest Territories’ air ambulance services recently received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, a group of non-profit organizations dedicated to improving medical transportation services.

The air ambulances in the territory are run by ACCESS, a partnership between Aklak Air, Air Tindi Ltd., and Advanced Medical Solutions.

Getting this new accreditation was part of the agreement between the territorial government and ACCESS when they signed a contract in 2015. It took two and a half years for ACCESS to get the accreditation.

“The bar has been raised,” said Sean Ivens, president and CEO of Advanced Medical Solutions. “This is the highest achievable bar in North America.”

“It’s very much a demonstration to the people of the Northwest Territories that the government and the contract companies that are involved in this have made the highest commitment that we can,” said Ivens.

Sean Ivens, president and CEO of Advanced Medical Solutions, says the government and contract companies worked together to bring ‘optimal patient care.’ (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

He said this is one of only three air ambulance services in Canada with this status. It focuses on quality assurance, medical standards, safety and staff education.

Ivens said they had to rewrite policies and procedures for different areas, including medical, aviation, and dispatch to get this level of accreditation.

“We’re collectively working as one unit and the ultimate outcome of that is to achieve optimal patient care.”

Mannequins for medical simulations
He pointed to the development of a medical simulation lab in Yellowknife in 2015 as an example. It can also be moved around the territory to bring the training elsewhere.

The lab includes different mannequins that can simulate “anything the body does.” The mannequins include an adult male, a pregnant female with complications, a toddler, a pediatric mannequin, and a neonatal mannequin.

Rob Jones, left, demonstrates how to intubate the adult male mannequin. (Jamie Malbeuf.CBC)

A matter of ‘tweaking’
Rob Jones, a critical flight care paramedic, has been working on the territory’s planes for almost 10 years. He said he didn’t notice many big changes on the medical side; “it was more tweaking the way the program was running.”

“As a ground-level flight medic going out to the communities, we saw the equipment didn’t change, the way we interact with patients didn’t change, but there are a lot of internal culture changes that happened.”

He said now the extra documentation allows them to look back over the years and find areas to improve upon, and it’s “allowed me to find a couple areas that I can work on.”

Jones said they are also checking their equipment more frequently.

“What you’re going to see is friendly, knowledgeable staff that have more tools.”

To keep the accreditation status, ACCESS will have to check in with the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems each month.


Nepal flag carrier safety audit by South Korea ‘uncertain’

An NAC Airbus A330 jet is seen at Tribhuvan International Airport. Post File Photo

The planned safety audit of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) by South Korea’s aviation regulator before allowing Nepal’s national flag carrier to start flights in Seoul is still up in the air with no confirmed date.

On September 3, in response to NAC’s plan to conduct direct flights to Seoul, the South Korean authority had written to Nepal’s government that it would be sending an audit team for safety checks to determine whether NAC meets international standards to operate in Incheon International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world.

Three months have passed but there are no signs of inviting the audit team. The South Korean government had named an audit team led by Cho Donghyun, assistant director of flight standard division of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, to conduct the audit of Nepal’s national flag carrier.

One aviation source with knowledge of the matter told the Post that Nepal’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), has advised NAC to not invite the team immediately as its preparations are not sufficient to satisfy the auditors.

The CAAN has also internally audited NAC’s safety standards which show that most of the concerns pointed out by the regulator have been unaddressed. The audit is a regular process of any country’s aviation regulator before allowing new carriers to operate.

NAC’s Executive Chairman Madan Kharel said that they were prepared for the audit. However, he said that it was up to CAAN to invite them. As per the procedure, regulators of both countries need to sign a memorandum of understanding before the audit is conducted.

Last Sunday, NAC’s managing director Sugat Ratna Kansakar told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the corporation’s plan to expand its wings to long-haul destinations like South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Japan has been delayed as the European Commission (EC) has kept all Nepali carriers in the air safety list.

“As a result, South Korea has decided to conduct a safety audit of the NAC.”

The EC had put Nepal on its air safety list in December 2013 in the wake of frequent crashes in Nepal, particularly in the domestic sector.

Kansakar told lawmakers that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had removed the “significant safety concerns” (SSC) tag it had put on Nepal in July last year. However, Nepal is still under the purview of the EC.

“We don’t know why the EC is still keeping Nepal in the safety list,” he told lawmakers. “But we have been informed that EC is not happy with the Nepal government for lack of progress on making a law to split the CAAN.”

CAAN is in line to be broken up into two entities-regulator and service provider-to facilitate stringent enforcement of safety measures. ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme had also recommended that Caan be split to make the aviation sector more efficient.

Nepali airlines doesn’t know when they will be removed from the air safety list, allowing them to operate in the European and other countries. Lawmaker Dharmasila Chapagain questioned the NAC on why it has been dreaming to fly Japan, South Korea and other European countries when it is still in the air safety list of EC.


Allegiant Air retires last of its aging fleet months after “60 Minutes” investigation

Allegiant Air, the ultra-low-cost carrier at the heart of a seven-month “60 Minutes” investigation, flew the last of its aging planes Wednesday in a trip from Fresno to Las Vegas. A 26-year-old MD-83 jet, which arrived a half hour late, retraced the route of the very first Allegiant flight.

After Wednesday, the airliner will operate an all Airbus fleet that is much younger than the now-retired MD-80 planes.

In April, “60 Minutes” reported that nearly 30 percent of Allegiant’s fleet was comprised of the aging MD-80 planes, almost all of them purchased second-hand from foreign airlines.

The “60 Minutes” investigation found that between Jan. 1, 2016 and the end of October 2017, more than 100 serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted takeoffs.

The “60 Minutes” report questioned the FAA’s 2015 adoption of its “compliance philosophy,” which aims to work with airlines to foster improved compliance and reporting of issues.

The FAA disputed the report and said it heightened its oversight of Allegiant that year. But as “60 Minutes” reported, when a near-crash happened due to a missing component in 2015, the FAA investigator recommended strong enforcement and maximum fines. Instead, the agency closed the case and ignored the recommendations.

Allegiant posted a statement after the “60 Minutes” broadcast that said “incidents referenced are years old, and took place before our most recent, comprehensive FAA audit. The story breaks no news.”

“60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft, who reported on Allegiant’s troubles, said in a “60 Minutes: Overtime” segment that he was “flabbergasted” more people didn’t know about the company’s safety record.

As Allegiant has been phasing out its MD-80 fleet, they said reliability has improved.


Small Planet Airlines grounded by authorities

Small Planet Airlines has been permanently grounded by the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Administration (CAA). All flights are cancelled.

The Lithuania-based carrier’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) was revoked by a court forcing the airline to cease all operations in the night from November 28th to November 29th. Small Planet Airlines recently entered a restructuring process, laid off staff and airplanes, trying to maintain flights, but ultimately failed to cover its own group’s costs.

Its three subsidiaries, Small Planet Airlines Germany, Poland and Cambodia had already suspended operations earlier this month.

The German branch recently announced that it found a buyer, however earlier it week it was reported that the purchase had failed.

Small Planet Group operated a total of 32 Airbus A320 family aircraft. It also had Boeing 737-300 and a single 757-200 in the past.


British Airways Enhances Cabin Crew Training with New Apprenticeship Program

British Airways continues its investment in world-class customer service, today announcing a programme to recruit more than 2,000 cabin crew in 2019.

Successful candidates with no prior cabin crew experience will train through the airline’s new cabin crew apprenticeship programme, getting their career off to a flying start.

World-class training

After completing an intense cabin crew training course at British Airways’ Global Learning Academy, including the very best training in customer service and aviation safety and security, apprentices will continue their learning journey in the air and on the ground.

The programme will see them gain qualifications in English, Math and Digital skills, access to a dedicated mobile app to track their progress and continuous development coaching from a certified apprenticeship coach.

The airline’s initiative reflects the Government’s push to increase and enhance the number and quality of apprenticeships offered in the UK, to improve core skills and the quality of training offered.

British Airways has a long tradition of running quality apprenticeship schemes, with apprentices currently working in engineering, customer service and head office roles.

The airline’s Global Learning Academy has recently achieved the status of a registered ‘Employer Provider’ of apprenticeships, enabling it to continue delivering specialist airline learning, while also offering employees enhanced skills and professional qualifications.

Dozens of apprentices from across the airline attended Skills London this weekend, the UK’s biggest careers event for 15 – 24-year olds, and spoke to thousands of young people about their experience as an apprentice at British Airways.

Victoria Bromley, Customer Service Apprentice, said: “My apprenticeship at British Airways has been the perfect way to begin my career in the aviation industry. The opportunities available are amazing and I couldn’t have asked for better support throughout.

“I am so proud of what I have achieved so far and I’m really excited for the future. I would absolutely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”

Apprenticeships for all

Announcing the training enhancements and the new cabin crew apprenticeship programme, British Airways’ Chief Learning Officer Nigel Jeremy, said:

“Apprenticeships are for people of all ages and backgrounds, and we’re delighted to be offering the UK’s largest cabin crew apprenticeship scheme as part of our cabin crew training at our world-class learning academy.

“We are looking for candidates who can offer exceptional customer service. The scheme has already proved to be extremely popular, and as we head towards our Centenary year in 2019, there couldn’t be a better time to join the airline.”

To find out more, and to apply, visit: https://careers.ba.com/


ATR Delivers 1,500th Aircraft

Toulouse, 29 November 2018 – Turboprop manufacturer ATR today celebrates its 1,500th aircraft delivery with the entire ATR employee community. The ATR 72-600 was delivered to Japan Air Commuter at the end of October. This represents the latest in a year of milestones for the market-leading regional aircraft manufacturer, after the delivery of the 1,000th ATR 72 in July and the 500th ATR -600 Series in August. Since its first delivery, over 30 years ago, ATR has become the leader in regional aviation.

ATR Chief Executive Officer, Stefano Bortoli, celebrated the achievement: “This is a momentous occasion for ATR and a moment of pride for all of our colleagues, past and present, who have contributed to the evolution and success of this fantastic aircraft. We thank all of our suppliers, clients and operators for accompanying us on this journey and we look forward to continuing to take this wonderful programme further into the future, connecting more people all over the world. ATR is the benchmark in regional aviation and we have the ambition to further develop our contribution to and position in this market.”

Since 2010, 75% of turboprop sales have been ATRs and the company currently has the largest market share of all regional aircraft. Nearly 500 50-seat ATR 42s and over 1,000 72-seat ATR 72s have been delivered to more than 200 operators in 100 countries. The company’s first aircraft programme, the ATR 42, was launched with the first delivery to French regional operator Air Littoral. ATR subsequently launched a larger version of the aircraft, the ATR 72, which was first delivered to Finnair. Since their respective launches, the ATR 42 and 72 have evolved with important improvements. The latest and most modern version of the aircraft, the -600 series, was launched in 2009, with the first delivery to Royal Air Maroc in 2011.

ATR’s prolonged success is a consequence of this policy of continuously developing its product and striving to go further with its customer service offer. The aircraft provides operators with unbeatable economics, operational flexibility, and state-of-the-art avionics, while passengers can enjoy the widest and most comfortable cabin in regional aviation. ATR’s recent innovations such as its Standard 3 avionics, ClearVision™, and Cabinstream™ ensure that its products continue to be the most advanced regional aircraft in the market. In addition to developing its products, ATR continues to concurrently strengthen its customer support, innovating new methods to lower Direct Maintenance Costs whilst increasing its Training footprint and offering a Customer Care Center that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And looking forward, ATR is also exploring the opportunities and impact of new propulsion technologies in the regional aircraft ecosystem.

Regional aviation provides vital connectivity and delivers significant economic advantages to communities worldwide. ATR’s market forecast predicts the need for over 3,000 turboprops in the next 20 years, in part to cater for nearly 3,000 new routes. A 10% increase in regional flights contributes an additional 5% of tourists, increases regional GDP by 6% and Foreign Direct Investment by 8%. This in turn leads to further social-economic development and more employment.


Alaska to decide in 2019 whether to retain two aircraft types

Alaska Air Group will decide in 2019 if it will continue operating both Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies or shift back to a single-type fleet, says chief operating officer Ben Minicucci.

Minicucci, speaking during a presentation to investors earlier this week, did not elaborate, and the company declines to provide further comment.

But questions about Alaska’s long-term fleet plan have been unanswered since the company acquired Virgin America in late 2016.

Prior to that deal, Alaska’s subsidiary Alaska Airlines operated only Boeing 737s – a strategy viewed as contributing to Alaska’s success as a profitable, fast-growing company.

With the acquisition, Alaska gained Virgin America’s fleet of A320-family aircraft. In the two years since, Alaska has been integrating the types into a single network and combining pilots and flight attendants into single employee groups.

Minicucci says the fleet integration work proved costlier than Alaska had anticipated. Indeed, executives have said the entire merger proved more expensive than Alaska anticipated, driving down profits in recent quarters.

Transitioning to a mixed fleet, which requires two maintenance programmes, two crew groups and “two operating methodologies” caused a “step change in complexity”, adds executive vice-president of planning and strategy Shane Tackett.

Alaska’s pilot productivity will actually decrease in 2019 as the company trains 737 pilots to fly Airbus, and vice-versa, Tackett adds. That training is required because Alaska is merging pilots into a single seniority list under which pilots can “choose which aircraft they want to fly,” Tackett says.

Alaska’s fleet includes 162 737s and 71 Airbus narrowbodies, and the company has orders for another 36 737s and 32 A320neo-family aircraft, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer.

Executives have previously said that if Alaska decides to revert to an all-737 fleet, it will likely not divest Airbus until leases expire on those aircraft.

The last of those leases expires in 2030, Fleets Analyzer shows.


US budget airline veteran to buy stake in struggling WOW Air after Icelandair abandons deal

  • Private equity firm Indigo Partners says it plans to buy a stake in WOW Air, a struggling Icelandic discount airline.
  • The announcement comes just hours after Icelandair said it had called off its takeover of fellow Icelandic airline WOW.
  • Indigo Partners owns Frontier Airlines and has investments in other discount airlines in Latin America and Europe.

Frontier Airlines’ parent is planning to buy a stake in low-cost carrier WOW Air, the companies said Thursday, the same day Icelandair Group announced it had scrapped a planned acquisition of its ailing rival, calling WOW’s fate into question.

Indigo Partners, a Phoenix-based private equity firm which owns Frontier, has invested in discount carriers in Latin America and Europe. Indigo said it has reached an in-principle agreement with WOW Air to invest in the Icelandic airline. The terms were not disclosed.

“We have a strategic vision for the airline, and look forward to working with its employees and agents to deliver that vision,” said Bill Franke, managing partner of Indigo Partners in a news release.

Franke is a veteran of the low-cost airline world. The firm had once owned Spirit Airlines, and helped grow and shape the once-struggling carrier. In addition to Frontier, Indigo Partners has invested in Chile-based JetSmart, Mexico’s Volaris Airlines and Hungary-based Wizz Air, all discount airlines.

Indigo Partners is also a major purchaser of Airbus jets. WOW operates an all-Airbus fleet.

The investment, if finalized, is a new twist in the fortunes of struggling WOW Air.

The Icelandic WOW Air said this week that it has faced escalating financial problems since its bond issuance in September, including higher fuel costs.

Aircraft lessors and the company’s creditors have “demanded stricter payment terms than before, putting further pressure on the company’s cash flow,” WOW Air said in a statement Tuesday. The airline reduced its fleet by four planes earlier this week.

The low-cost carrier, which expanded rapidly and helped fuel a tourism boom to Iceland, has grappled with other problems as well, including complaints about poor customer service.

“We have to do better,” WOW’s Chief Executive Officer Skuli Mogensen told CNBC in an interview in June in Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik. “It’s obviously in our interest to fix it.” He said problems such as canceled flights and delays have cost the airline in terms of lost passengers and the money paid out as compensation.

“This conclusion is certainly disappointing,” Bogi Nils Bogason, Icelandair Group’s interim president and CEO, said in a statement after the company scrapped plans to acquire its rival WOW Air. “We want to thank WOW Air’s management for a good cooperation in the project during recent weeks. All our best wishes go out to the owners and staff of the WOW Air.”

WOW Air’s flights first took off in 2012 and it has expanded rapidly, adding trans-Atlantic service from several U.S. cities. The airline is a no-frills budget carrier, that offers low airfares, some below $100 one-way. It charges passengers for everything else, such as seat assignments, carry-on baggage and food and beverages.


National Aviation Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2019

Flying magazine contributing editors John and Martha King join four others for enshrinement next fall.

Six individuals were named to the 2019 class of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, including Flying magazine’s own Martha and John King.

National Aviation Hall of Fame

The National Aviation Hall of Fame announced its class of enshrinees for 2019, naming six individuals to the prestigious club, two of whom will be familiar to readers of Flying magazine. Our own contributing editors John and Martha King join a diverse group of pilots who have contributed greatly to aviation in their own ways.

The class of 2019 includes: Col. Guion “Guy” S. Bluford, USAF (Ret.), a Ph.D. aerospace engineer, fighter pilot, decorated Vietnam veteran, instructor pilot, NASA Group 8, mission specialist on four Space Shuttle missions; The late Col. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, USMC, Congressional Medal of Honor Awardee, Flying Tiger combat pilot and flight leader, World War II fighter ace, CO of the Black Sheep Squadron, World War II POW; Brig. Gen. Charles M. Duke, Jr., USAF (Ret.), a test pilot, NASA Group 5, CAPCOM Apollo 11, LMP Apollo 16, 10th person to walk on the moon; Martha and John King, founders of King Schools and 40-year veterans of aviation instruction, pioneers of multimedia training programs that have instructed more than half the pilots in the U.S. flying now; and the late Katherine Stinson, the fourth female in the U.S. to earn a pilot’s certificate, founder of the Stinson School of Flying in 1915, first woman to carry airmail and exhibition circuit pilot who set multiple distance and endurance records.

Each year, the NAHF Board of Nominations, a voting body comprised of more than 120 aviation professionals nationwide, selects from a group of previously nominated air and space pioneers to be recognized for their achievements with induction into the NAHF. Since its founding in 1962, 241 men and women have been honored with enshrinement into the Congressionally chartered, non-profit National Aviation Hall of Fame based in Dayton, Ohio.


Russians Are Struggling to Keep Soyuz Reliable, Space Expert Warns Ahead of Crew Launch

While the Soyuz spacecraft has been delivering crews to space for decades, with a history of reliability over that time, changes in the industry mean that Russia is now struggling to keep its spaceflights safe, said an expert on the Russian space program. However, he said he does expect more safety checks ahead of the Expedition 58 launch on Dec. 3, which will include a U.S. astronaut.

“The Russian space industry has a lot of troubles, like growing cost, economic and technological inefficiency, troubles with human capital, and so on. All that means that the factories sometimes lose the quality of manufacturing,” Pavel Luzin, a Russian researcher and consultant whose fields of expertise include the Russian space program, told Space.com in an email.

“[Recent] emergency cases with Soyuz manned spacecrafts affect the reputation of [a] Russian space industry that already has been damaged in previous years, as [has] the international reputation of Russia as a trusted partner in outer space,” Luzin added.

New issues with Soyuz

A Soyuz spacecraft docked to the International Space Station.

Soyuz spacecraft have been used since the 1960s; two fatalities occurred in the program, in 1968 and 1971, but since then, every crew has survived launch and re-entry. Russia has used Soyuz to dock with multiple Soviet and Russian space stations, and the country continued using the spacecraft to reach the International Space Station (ISS)after the complex’s construction began almost exactly 20 years ago, in 1998.

Starting in 1981, NASA began bringing most of its astronauts to space using the space shuttle (a program that itself experienced two sets of crew fatalities, in 1986 and 2003). That program was retired in 2011, when the space station’s construction was completed. As a result, NASA has needed to purchase Soyuz seats for its astronauts to access the space station; as of mid-2018, the cost was more than $70 million per person for each mission.

The Russians, however, reliably delivered crew after crew to the space station – until this year. Two problems arose in recent months. The first occurred with the Soyuz that brought the Expedition 56 crew to space on June 6, 2018; while the launch was flawless, the astronauts and NASA mission control discovered a leak in the spacecraft in late August that was traced to a probable drill hole. An investigation into the cause is ongoing. (Note that the leak is in a part of the capsule that does not re-enter Earth’s atmosphere when the spacecraft returns.)

“We continue this investigation. The results may probably be ready when the current crew returns from the station, i.e., after Dec. 20,” Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said in a Nov. 19 report from the Russian state news agency TASS. He added that Roscosmos and NASA had worked closely together to mitigate the danger, including by creating scenarios in which the crew onboard would evacuate – although this wasn’t needed, as the astronauts quickly plugged the hole with epoxy resin.

Then, on Oct. 11, 2018, the Expedition 57 crew lost their chance to go to space, when the Soyuz rocket carrying their Soyuz spacecraft (the two share a name) experienced a malfunction. The abort system on the spacecraft worked flawlessly, and the crew safely landed on Earth; meanwhile, an investigation into the cause showed that a deformed sensor stopped the rocket from working properly.

Roscosmos speedily wrapped up the investigation, taking approximately a month to determine the cause. The investigation was performed jointly with NASA, and in comments shortly after the abort happened, NASA said it planned an independent flight-safety review ahead of the Soyuz being authorized to send crews aloft again. This apparently did happen, as Soyuz was cleared for flight again in November.

“The investigation was speedy because the cause of emergency was clear. When you know the minute and second of the incident, you know what works during this time,” Luzin said. “So, it is much more easy to analyze the situation. Compare this with the leak at Soyuz MS-09. Currently, the investigation didn’t provide us with any reasonable explanation [for] what was wrong during the process of the Soyuz’s manufacturing and preparing for launch.”

Looking ahead

The ISS has been continuously crewed since the year 2000. That persisted even during difficult times, such as when several supply ships failed en route to the space station in 2015 and after the fatal space shuttle Columbia accident on Feb. 1, 2003, grounded space shuttle flights for two years. Following a test flight in 2005, operational flights of the space shuttle resumed in 2006.

The United States and Russia also came to loggerheads over Russian military activity in Crimea that began in 2014; while Roscosmos sparred with NASA after the U.S. placed economic sanctions on Russia, Soyuz flights did continue as scheduled.

There are three astronauts onboard the space station now, and they were originally scheduled to come home in December. To keep the station continuously crewed, officials decided to advance Expedition 58’s liftoff by three weeks – to Dec. 3 instead of Dec. 20. That will allow the three crewmembers currently onboard on the ISS to come home on time, on Dec. 20.

That decision, however, will leave the orbiting complex with only three crewmembers, instead of the desired six. Expedition 58 crewmember and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques told reporters in October that this will mean less science for his crew, as well as fewer chances to perform spacewalks, because maintenance activities must come first.

Luzin said he isn’t necessarily worried about the forthcoming launch, because he expects that the Russians will implement more “checks and control measures” to ensure Soyuz safety. That said, the ISS partners need to continue to use Soyuz regardless of any measures taken, as there is no other spacecraft capable of bringing crews to the station right now.

That’s expected to change shortly, when commercial crew vehicles are ready for spaceflight. NASA has announced the first uncrewed test of the Space Dragon commercial crew vehicle in January, with Boeing Starliner’s test to follow at an undisclosed date. Crewed flights are expected to follow in 2019 or 2020. When that happens, NASA will no longer need to purchase seats from the Russians. The Russians will likely continue to ferry cosmonauts and other countries’ astronauts into space using Soyuz, however, and international participation in the space station is expected to run until 2024.

NASA is currently pushing its international partners to help out with the agency’s envisioned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a moon-orbiting space station the agency hopes to fly in the 2020s. Luzin said the Russians may want to participate in this station as well. (Indeed, Rogozin did express interest in comments published Nov. 19 in the Russian news outlet Sputnik.)

“The partnership in the ISS is very well-institutionalized, and Russia has an official status as ‘equal partner of the U.S.,'” Luzin said. “Moscow wants to preserve this status, because that is the third thing after [the] nuclear arsenal and [a] permanent-seat place at the U.N. Security Council that gives Russia a ‘great power’ status.”


Today’s Photo

Caribbean Airlines Flight 523
30 July 2011
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